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  • Beany2013 - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    What was wrong with just having a switch on the wall?

    I look forward to the first exploits that allow remote execution of these devices - that'll be fun.

    Well, not for whomever installed them, anyway.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    The usefulness of these types of devices become apparent when the 'need' comes.

    In the early 90s, many people brushed off e-mail / Internet / e-commerce similarly. 'What is the need for putting up shops online' and that type of thing?

    Let me give you an example of when remote switching is useful: Suppose I go on a vacation, but want the lights in my house to go on and off / activate the lights from a remote location ? (Quite useful deterrent against robbers who target 'vacant' houses by observation over a period of time).

    Another angle: Have you ever wondered how much power is consumed by a particular appliance in your home? These devices help you with real-time monitoring of that aspect.

    As for exploits and remote execution, this one is as secure as your own network is. While other 'consumer-oriented' devices have to pander to the lowest common denominator by providing cloud access / ease of use etc., Ubiquiti is actually doing things great by making you run the 'cloud control server' in your own premises. As long as you can secure your network, this device should be secure.

    To be clear, this is not the type of device targeting the market that needs to be spoon-fed. Rather, the target is businesses / installers / power users [ basically, the typical AnandTech readership :) ]. For the former market, we have the Belkin WeMo lineup, D-Link Smart Plug etc. They try to make more 'consumer-friendly gear'.
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    Let's ignore all the advanced and complex stuff you can do with home automation and just pick a super basic example. Say you've got a switch on the wall, as you say, and you want it to control a floor lamp on the other side of the room. If that power socket is already wired through the lightswitch, great. But what if it's not?

    You've got two options. Either you have an electrician reroute the electrical wiring in your walls, punching lots of holes in your drywall, and costing you a small fortune, or you can just buy a wifi lightswitch and wifi power socket and replace the switch/socket with those without redoing any of the wiring.

    Heck, you don't even need to rewire the electrical socket, you can get the wallwart or power bar type instead.

    The biggest problem with all this mFi stuff seems to be that it's almost impossible to buy it as a consumer.
    Reply
  • Beany2013 - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    I think the bigger problem is that this tech has appeared now that I am over 30, and as such, it is against the laws of nature and I fear it.

    Had it turned up a few years ago, it'd have been something exciting and new that I could get a career in the design/support it.

    See Douglas Adams for details ;-)
    Reply
  • isa - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    I feel old in not knowing the answer, but is Ubiquiti's "mFi" the same as Apple's "MFi" program? I feel like I'm in Steve Martin's movie "L.A. Story" discussing SanDeE. Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    Nope :) A quick perusal of the first link in the article : http://www.anandtech.com/show/7530/ubiquiti-networ... : shows that mFi is Ubiquiti's building automation platform. Reply
  • isa - Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - link

    ThanKs for the quick response! I did in fact PerUse that link, but nothing in it explicitly stated it was part of.or separate from its alphabetically identical references in Apple materials. WeiRd that the marKetinG godS allowed such simiLaR trademarks to coeXiSt. Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    This looks somewhat interesting, but it's not a revolution. We've had this capability with X10 devices for years, and already have WiFi light-bulbs. The light switch is a nice addition.

    I currently use an old Android phone set to always-on running the MiLight app that I stuck to the wall. It looks decent, but not as good as a switch built into the wall. Of course MiLight has much more functionality than the device in this article, being able to change the light to any color.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    Yes, these are not 'revolutionary', but there is quite a bit of market demand for easily accessible 'automation' enablers. X10 has been around for a long time, but, frankly, what is the adoption rate compared to availability of Wi-Fi? Problem with Wi-Fi light bulbs is that they carry quite a premium.

    If you want to identify how much market demand there is for this product, take a look at the Kickstarter campaign of Ube / Plum : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/702772580/ube... : They met their goal pretty easily, but the units have been 'shipping soon' for quite some time. I had originally wanted to purchase the Ube as soon as it became available (despite the hefty premium over an oridinary dimmer switch), but it was disappointing to see it being continually delayed. With Ubiquiti, I am more confident - they are a proven bunch, their gear is priced quite fairly (surprising for an enterprise-targeted company) and I simply love how much flexibility is available for power users to take advantage of.
    Reply
  • cbf - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    X10 was never very reliable. Original protocol only supported "toggle" commands with no acknowledgement. So maybe your light would turn on, maybe it'd turn off.. Reply
  • isa - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    A friend just reminded me that the 802.11ah group is finishing their voting on Draft 2.0 on July 5th, and there's hope that this draft will be complete and accepted enough for manufacturers to go to market with draft 2.0 IoT devices this upcoming winter. It would be great if Anandtech could check around and see if that's the case or not, and if so, perhaps do an article. Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    Hmm.. my contacts told me last year that market devices would appear in Q3 - Q4 of 2015. If it is this winter, I would be really surprised. I will definitely ask around. Reply
  • subplaya662 - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    Does anyone make a wired version of this?

    For new construction I would greatly prefer a wired version of this kind of outlet/switch.
    Reply
  • yoseikan - Friday, July 04, 2014 - link

    For that you have integrated solutions. The most tried and true being, probably, KNX (http://www.knx.org/). There is virtually no limits to what you can do with this type of automation. And devices are all independent, so you are not stuck with a "dead" home if the computer that controls it goes offline.
    Ubiquity's solution is valid to people that will need to control few appliances and/or can not hardwire their home. Everything else is already invented (KNX goes back some 20 years).
    Reply

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